Banff Mountain Film Festival 2018

By Barry Washkansky

I’ve been going to The Banff Mountain film festival for almost as long as I can remember. Now, while Cape Union Mart has been their chief sponsor for about 13 years, I’m pretty sure I was attending Banff for at least five years before that.

These days attending the preview is an event in itself, one I look forward to as much as the mountain movies. Besides the food and drink, there is always a collection of well-known mountain movers, K-Way sponsored trail runner, AJ Calitz, and climbing legend and Mountain SA editor and author, Tony Lourens, to name just two. Add to that some mountain acquaintances and friends and other outdoor influencers and it makes for a fun evening. Of course, there are also the sponsors who offer great prizes to those who can take the best selfies with their gear and Instagram the shit out of them. I tried, I really did, I posed with equipment, climbed trees mugged for my own camera, but it seems selfies are best left to the Millenials.

Then there was the real reason we were there, to preview this year’s mountain films. Those that made the cut after 100’s of movies that were reviewed. I always enjoy the movies no matter what; sure, some year’s collections are always better than others, that goes without saying, but any movies combining creativity and the outdoors are generally to my liking.

To be honest, this year was not the greatest collection, but it’s certainly still worth going to see. Here are some of my favourites.

My Irnik

A man falls for the great north and falls in love with a woman from the region. His storytelling and interaction with his young son, make this both a visually appealing movie and one that pulls on the heartstrings. This one resonated with me as I have a young song and have tried instilling my love of the outdoors and adventure in him with mixed success.

Surf the line

This is one of those silly, crazy and just plain fun movies that always categorize this mountain film festival. These mad Frenchmen surfing along a zip line tied hundreds of meters above the ground, before base jumping off.

Tsirku (Tour Edit )

A group of highly skilled skiers attempt the famous, or infamous, corrugated spine lines of the Tsirku Glacier. Situated at the point where Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon converge, the footage is astounding and the skiers skill something to behold.

Loved by all – The story of Apa Sherpa  

Sherpas are respected by many around the world as brave and skilful mountain men. But, although born and raised at high altitude in the mountains, the life of a sherpa is dangerous and not one many would choose if they had the choice. This story tells the story of the life of Apa Sherpa, who started working as a porter at 12 years old and has summited Everest a record 21 times. But this is not a life he would recommend for anyone. Fascinating storytelling.

Plus plenty more.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour hosted by Cape Union Mart will be in cinemas countrywide from 26 October to 4 November 2018.

Book at or call their Ticketline on 082 16789.

Visit or

Running time: 109 minutes

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